A paid-for Instagram post by Maje Paris, a clothing retailer, seen on 26 June 2023, featured a female model posing on a bicycle wearing a mini skirt and a one-shoulder crochet top.
The complainant, who believed the model appeared unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
Maje S.A.S t/a Maje Paris said they worked with models with diverse body types, and they provided images of several female models. They were mindful of the importance of responsible advertising and the dangers of featuring unhealthily thin models.
Maje said the model featured in the ad was not presented in a way that made her appear underweight and did not promote an unhealthy body image. The lighting, pose and clothing did not make her appear unhealthily thin and her clothing was adapted to her shape. There was no focus on a specific part of her body and no hollow areas or shadows had been created. The model was healthy, and her slimness was a natural feature of her body. The ad had not been airbrushed. They said she was popular, highly recognised in the fashion industry and had worked with many prestigious brands.
Maje said they took complaints very seriously and would further analyse the Code’s guidelines to ensure their teams received additional training on this sensitive topic. They said they had withdrawn the ad.
The model was featured sitting on a bicycle with her arms resting on the handlebars. The ASA considered that both her arms, which were fully visible in her one-shoulder top, looked very slender. Her right arm was outstretched and from the side angle the photograph was taken, her upper arm appeared noticeably thinner than her elbow joint. The shoulder bone on her other arm was also prominent. We also considered that the contrast of the ad’s darker background colour with the model’s skin further accentuated the thinness of her arms and upper body. The model’s raised leg appeared thin, and because she was slouched slightly forward, the top she wore appeared loose around her waist, further highlighting her very slender frame. We considered the model’s slouched posture on the bicycle and styling, with her hair partially obscuring her face, gave a gaunt appearance and emphasised her slimness in a manner which made her appear unhealthily thin. For those reasons we concluded the ad was irresponsible.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Maje S.A.S t/a Maje Paris to ensure that the images in their ads were prepared responsibly and did not portray their models as being unhealthily thin.